The Food Column: A multi-ethnic food festival in Bridgeville

This isn’t your standard church food festival.

We Pittsburghers are accustomed to ethnic food festivals at churches – we’re loaded with Greek, Ukrainian, Slovak and other food festivals all over the city.

But this one has a different bent in that it’s not limited to one ethnicity.

Lakeview Christian Life Church in Bridgeville will hold its 34th annual Food Fair from 3 to 8 p.m. this Saturday, July 26. Various church families will host booths offering Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai, Italian and Greek foods, as well as ribs, wings, gourmet appetizers and homemade sorbet. There’s also a dessert booth to which the whole church has contributed pies, cakes, cookies and other baked goods.

Molly Keller, church secretary, said the multiethnic character of this festival cropped up because families prepare foods that are special to them and their backgrounds. For instance, a Thai man and his Vietnamese wife run the “Nam Thai” booth, using old family recipes such as the Chicken Green Curry recipe accompanying this column. Another family makes gyros from a longstanding family recipe, and an Italian family uses recipes that came over on the boat from Italy generations ago.

There will be 10 to 12 food booths along with carnival games, face painting and live music. Ms. Keller estimates that at least 50 core volunteers run the fair, which benefits Lakeview Christian Academy.

Fair admission is $2 per person or $5 per family. For more information, call 724-746-3200.

More festivals

Ukrainian Food & Fun Festival: Ukrainian food and baked goods, collectibles and religious items, bingo, games, live entertainment. 5 to 10 p.m. today through Saturday, July 24-26, at St. Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Church in McKees Rocks. 412-331-2362 or

Sustainable Saturday Celebration of Local Grain: Mill tours from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., followed by a potluck dinner and folk music jam. Saturday, July 26, at Weatherbury Farm in Avella. Bring a dish for the potluck and a musical instrument if you want to jam. For information, e-mail

Rally to Expand Minds and Fill Bellies: Oh My Grill, Nakama and other local food trucks will donate a portion of sales to North Hills Community Outreach. 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, at CCAC North Campus, 8701 Perry Highway. Donations of toiletries and nonperishable foods for NHCO’s two pantries will also be accepted.

Classes and demos

To-may-to, To-mah-to: Miriam Rubin, Post-Gazette columnist and cookbook author, teaches Bloody Marys, peach and tomato salad, shrimp saute with cherry tomatoes, green-tomato crumb cake and more, plus sells and signs copies of her cookbook. 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at Crate in Scott. $45.

Jam-Canning Party: The Canning Exchange presents a community jam-canning party from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at Earthen Vessels Outreach in Friendship. $12 includes a spot in the kitchen and a piece of pie. Bring an apron if you want; canning supplies and produce will be provided. If you want to take home jam, it’s $3 per pint. For tickets, go to and search for “Jammin’ with Jane.”

The Science Behind Raw Foods and Juicing: Janet McKee of SanaView discusses raw foods, demonstrates raw-food-preparation techniques and offers samples. 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, at Gemini Children’s Theater in Point Breeze. Free, but a $10 suggested donation will benefit Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. Reservations: 412-242-3598.

Meals & more

Al Fresco Dinner: Kate Romane, chef/owner of e2, and Tara Rockacy, farmer/owner of Churchview Farm, present an al fresco dinner with wine pairings and multiple courses featuring local veggies, meats and cheeses. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at Churchview. $95. Proceeds will help to send the two to Terra Madre’s sixth biennial global congress of growers, producers, artisans and chefs in Turin. Italy, in October. The pair will blog about their experiences for those back home.

 Eggfest: Participants schlepp “Big Green Egg” grills and food to cook on them to the festival site, and attendees can taste the food. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at Hearth & Home Furnishings in Zelienople. Cooks attend for free, but “taster” tickets are $12 per person, or free for kids ages 12 and under.

Sunday Morning Movie Service: Screening of “Planet of the Apes” with coffee from McKees Rocks’ Fortunes Coffee, doughnuts and film discussion. 11:15 a.m. Sunday, July 27, at Parkway Theater in McKees Rocks. $4. 412-766-1668. (Future dates and movies are Aug. 10, “The Hustler”; Aug. 24, “Key Largo”; Sept. 14, “Angels with Dirty Faces”; Sept. 28, “King Kong.”)

Lunch & Learn: Ohio City Pasta provides a gourmet-cooking demonstration while diners enjoy a free lunch. Noon to 1 p.m. next Thursday, July 31, at Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District. E-mail for an invitation.


The Market Kitchen @Pittsburgh Public Market: The Kickstarter campaign to build a shared space for local food entrepreneurs ends Wednesday, July 30. The goal is to raise $10,000 toward building a commercial kitchen inside Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District, where food businesses could rent space. Go to and search on “The Market Kitchen” for information or to contribute. Local charitable foundations have provided the rest of the funding, but the last $10,000 is still needed.

Rebecca Sodergren: or on Twitter @pgfoodevents.

Chicken Green Curry Dish

PG tested

Thanh-Thanh Vorasiangsuk, who prepares this dish for the Nam Thai booth at Lakeview Christian Life Church’s Food Fair, notes that green curry paste can be found at Giant Eagle or Asian markets and that you shouldn’t shake the can of coconut milk before opening, because you‘‍ll use the thick part first.

2 chicken breasts

1 to 2 tablespoons butter

½ cup sesame ginger salad dressing

1 to 2 tablespoons green curry paste

1 can coconut milk

2 red, yellow or orange bell peppers, julienned

Large handful of green beans, trimmed and cut lengthwise

Handful of fresh basil, plus extra for garnish

¾ teaspoon salt or to taste

1 teaspoon brown sugar or to taste

Dash of fish sauce or to taste (optional)

Season chicken breasts lightly with salt, place each chicken breast on a rectangular piece of foil and scrunch up the sides, leaving a small opening at the top. Top with butter and dressing, divided equally between packets. Place packets in baking pan and bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

While the chicken is baking, chop vegetables. Fry green curry paste in a large saucepan for 1 to 2 minutes until it releases a spicy aroma. Toss in peppers, green beans and handful of basil and stir fry for another minute. Add about a third of the coconut milk, using the thick cream at the top first. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the rest of the coconut milk.

When the chicken is done, slice and add it to the sauce. Simmer for another 10 minutes, adding salt, brown sugar and fish sauce to taste. Garnish the dish with basil and serve.

-- Thanh-Thanh Vorasiangsuk


Hot Topic